Milwaukee, Wis. – Over the course of four years, aluminum die caster Advance Die Cast LLC has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving the energy efficiency of its operations. That commitment paid off as the medium-sized business was awarded a 2020 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award from FOCUS ON ENERGY®.
“We knew we needed a reliable solution to the increased electric cost each month due to our outdated furnaces,” said Al Petersen from Advance Die Cast. “Working with [our Energy Advisor] and the team at Focus was the answer to help with the cost of the new, more-efficient furnaces.”
The Excellence Award honors Focus on Energy participants who have shown a commitment to leading in energy efficiency. Advance Die Cast joined forces with Focus on Energy in 2016 when the foundry recognized the need for a more energy-efficient referb melting and holding furnace at its Milwaukee facility. The 70,000-pound machine was 45 years old and estimated to be only 50% efficient.
In partnership with utility provider We Energies and with assistance from Focus on Energy, Advance Die Cast was able to purchase and install an energy-efficient Stotek tower furnace with a better melt rate. This project alone produced estimated annual savings of over $89,000 and 110,000 therms, and the die caster also received a $88,284 incentive from Focus on Energy to help offset the costs of the more efficient equipment.
Additionally, in 2017, Advance Die Cast upgraded its old and poorly-insulated electric holding furnaces, which held the 1,300-degree aluminum next to the die-cast machine, to a dosing furnace, which serves as a holding furnace for the aluminum and also contains a dosing section for die casting. The new furnace has more insulation and does not open directly to the atmosphere like the previous equipment did, saving energy and money.
But Advance Die Cast didn’t stop there. To date, the Milwaukee-based foundry has completed five energy-saving furnace upgrades in its facility with the help of Focus on Energy, and The Mumford Companies, which purchased Advance Die Cast in 2015, intends to continue this trend. The energy-efficient measures have saved an estimated 1,043,634 kilowatt-hours (kWh) – the equivalent to driving 159 cars for one year – and produced annual cost savings of more than $101,000.
During this time, Advance Die Cast also completed upgrades to lighting in its production, office and outdoor areas, adding another $236,669 in annual cost savings. These projects also increased the foundry’s energy savings total by 149,693 kWh and 110,355 therms, which is enough energy to electrically power over 116 homes for an entire year. These upgrades were justified by an incentive check from Focus on Energy for more than $144,300, which allowed Advance Die Cast to move the projects forward through the approval process.
“Our building has evolved through the years,” said Petersen. “As the additions were built, the lighting was never a real focus until the introduction of LED lighting. We recognized the need [for greater efficiency] and, when we asked Focus on Energy to help, they had a program for us to join.”
Jeff Danielson, an Energy Advisor from Focus on Energy who has worked closely with Advance Die Cast to identify and implement its energy-saving measures, nominated the foundry for the Excellence Award.
“It has been a pleasure working with Advance Die Cast on many projects during the last five years,” said Danielson. “I am looking forward to continuing this energy savings process with additional projects in the future.”
Advance Die Cast has established itself as a leader in reducing energy waste in its operations and earned its status as an Excellence Award winner. The foundry’s continued dedication to improving the quality and efficiency of its business operations, and the health of the greater Wisconsin community, will yield benefits for years to come.
Focus on Energy is working with utility companies across the state throughout September and October to present Energy Efficiency Excellence Awards to 14 outstanding businesses.
Focus on Energy partners with 107 utilities across the state to offer energy expertise and financial incentives to residents and businesses that choose to reduce energy waste. A third-party evaluation last year revealed Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation, in terms of energy savings per dollar spent. A separate evaluation released this year found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates $4.80 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.